I Will Crush You!
Earlier today, I got a message from CrushLink. I have a secret admirer! Well, maybe. It's basically a viral e-mail harvesting system. I was in an odd enough mood (and, well, my address was in their system anyway), so I decided to try to take a stab at guessing who this person was. Little did I know that I had to add 5 more addresses to their list before they'd tell me anything. To top it off, they even insult you once you've entered 5 addresses -- ``You need help.'' or something to that effect. More than likely, my address was just a filler address for someone else.
Anyway, didn't do too much today. I got up fairly early for once -- and I think I found a few good reasons for actually getting up at ~7 AM. Batman Beyond is on WB at 7, and Comedy Central usually starts a movie then as well. If I'm feeling sleepy, I can just wait until The Daily Show comes on at 9 ;-)
bjf: All I can say is that most Americans are ignorant of the situation. The only coverage I've seen of it is in the print news (well, whatever shows up in Yahoo's most-emailed and most-viewed content). Then again, I've been watching TV news much less (usually only The Daily Show, if anything).. Amazingly, I'm still the most-informed person I know. Then again, college students tend to have plenty of other things to worry about. At the U of MN, a very large number of students work -- I guess the administration believes it's to the point of distraction, as the U has something like a 50% 6-year graduation rate.. I can't speak for any other communitites.
There are people who take an interest in that stuff, though. It's not something I think too much about. IIRC, Nader got somewhere around 20% of the votes on-campus in last year's presidential race. But I suppose that doesn't prove anything.
My brother and I came home yesterday. We brought the car up in early November, expecting to just keep it a week. I thought we'd have too many Snow Emergencies for the car to be easy to keep around, but only one big snow came (and that was just a few days after the car went up). Still bare ground in Minneapolis.
My mom mentioned that one of the instructors I had in confirmation class spoke up at a church service the other day to voice disapproval of bombing Afghanistan since, well, the Bible says faithful people should be peacemakers and shouldn't condone violence. I'm not really a religous person myself, though I agree with that idea.. At any rate, he's been known to voice his opinions pretty loudly in the past. I guess the pastoral staff wrote a long response in the subsequent church newsletter...
There are sane people in this world, just most of them are hiding :-p
What the?!? dammit..
The Daily Show has been getting some news coverage lately. This is probably partially due to the fact that Jon Stewart just signed a new contract. Also, Comedy Central is now under the full control of Viacom, while it had previously been owned 50/50 by Viacom and AOL Time Warner. This was mentioned by Jon Stewart himself a few days ago during the opening segment. Personally, I think I'd be happier with Time Warner owning Comedy Central than Viacom. Viacom owns a crapload of stuff (just visit their site to see), and I don't really want to see Comedy Central turning into another MTV-esque outlet (though I suppose they are already partway there).
On the positive side, the show is being seen by many people as a better news source than CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Channel. An article I found via the Miami Herald shows war criticism can be taken seriously. Another piece from The Nation explains how the show goes for more than just cheap laughs.
I think my mom had mentioned something about the show Watching Ellie coming back, and possibly being better than what it was before, so I set my computer to record it. I've seen two episodes, one from today and one from last week, but neither was very good. The only real positive to the show is the presence of Steve Carell as Edgar, who is so good at insincere sincerity that he can make anything funny. Those years working on The Daily Show must have paid off.
On the subject of TV shows, I keep wondering if Good Morning, Miami is going to get canceled. NBC keeps dropping it off the schedule for weeks at a time, but it keeps coming back. Apparently, it's considered a "[b]ona fide new hit" and will likely stay on the air. I like the show, but it has a story line that can't help but get tiring quickly. They reworked it after the first few episodes, getting rid of the nun (good), and the only latina on the show (bad). A show about Miami without any Cubans in it.. Sheesh.
At the time Private Jessica Lynch was retrieved from a hospital in Iraq, I was mostly watching The Daily Show, so I didn't hear much about it. The story was blanketing the cable news channels and other TV news outlets, though.
I smelled something funny with that story, and it looks like people who were suspicious of it were probably right. The BBC has a story explaining that her retrieval was a Hollywood-style stunt. Dr. Anmar Uday said this:
“It was like a Hollywood film. They cried ‘go, go, go’, with guns and blanks without bullets, blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show for the American attack on the hospital—action movies like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan.”
It's possible the doctors were lying or stretching the truth, but I generally have a lot of respect for the BBC..
With all the screwed up news stories being discovered lately, I think The Daily Show will have to start giving out some sort of award for “Best fake news from a real news outlet.”
I'm working on encoding a very interesting conversation that was on NOW with Bill Moyers this past weekend. I'm thinking I might start putting up a “video of the week” on my website, though I'll only really be able to have one very compressed video put up at a time due to limited storage space. Hopefully I've found an encoder setting that will work with Windows Media Player so all you people without Linux can actually play the video ;-)
(Actually, it should be possible to get video made with my system's best encoder to work on Windows, but it looks like it'd be vastly too much effort for an ordinary human being. If more people had Macs, though…)
Also, I just noticed that Jon Stewart had been on NOW last week. Dammit. I wonder if I accidentally deleted that recording. Bah. Oh well, the consolation prize is a very good transcript.
NOW is a good television news magazine—what 20/20 and Dateline NBC wish they were. 60 Minutes is probably fairly comparable, though.
The show was hyped quite a bit by PBS when it first came out, and I didn't think it lived up to the hype then. However, it seems to have gotten better over time. I don't like all of the stories they do (some are just on topics I don't give a rip about), but a lot of them are very interesting.
Oh yeah, I need to donate some cash to PBS again once I start getting paid. Possibly NPR too. Bah. My money is being pre-allocated way too fast.
Oh yeah. Here's a Daily Show clip of Rob Corddry following the “Monsters of Government” to Rochester and Minneapolis. I thought it was pretty funny.
The file's nearly 30 MB, so I'll only be able to keep it on my site for a little while before I need to reclaim the space. I might put up a somewhat smaller copy later…
Horror of horrors. I'm going to try and watch the Emmys this year. I know there's some reason why I decided to watch (probably presence of Jon Stewart as one of the many hosts and the nomination of The Daily Show for a few things).
Earlier today, my brother and I helped my Dad paint another side of the house today. It started raining lightly, so we went inside for a break. At least it didn't rain hard, so the paint didn't get messed up at all.
One of the strangest things I've seen in the last few days was on The Daily Show last night. There was a dedication in Baghdad marking the reopening of one of the major bridges there. The military band on hand played several songs, including “Imperial March” from Star Wars.
Good choice. *gack*
Not much else has been going on.
Heh. The Daily Show made this joke today too.
Heh. Here's another week-late entry. Paul Magers finished 20 years working at KARE TV on the 12th, and they have a sappy goodbye story. I only mention it because he's been around so long. Only a handful of on-screen personalities have worked in the Twin Cities for that long, and certainly no one has occupied the anchor desk for that much time (except Diana Pierce, who came to Ch. 11 with Mr. Magers).
I really respect the abilities of Paul Magers a lot. I always liked the way he delivered the news much more than any of the other anchors I'd see. There are rumors that he may get pushed up the chain at CBS (he's going to KCBS in California) and end up on the national newscasts, which could be really good. In my opinion, he's better than all of the national anchors I know of, though Peter Jennings is darn close.
Hmm. Actually, I think that if you take away the paradigm of silliness on The Daily Show, Magers and Jon Stewart seem to have fairly similar deliveries. Maybe that explains why I like that show so much…
Anyway, we in Minnesota will have to peek in on what he's doing out there in California every so often. I get the feeling that the Los Angeles market is still stuck in the clutches of cheap shock journalism. Maybe he can snap them out of it, but I guess I'm not holding my breath on that one.
Actually, from what I've heard, the Twin Cities' news departments are pretty good. I suppose it's an effort to break any ideas that people might have gotten from watching Mary Tyler Moore. I still think they could be a lot better (for instance, the last time I was home, we watched BBC World News on a PBS station, and saw a report from Minnesota, talking about stuff my parents hadn't really heard of).
Well, I hope things go well out there for him.
Blech, I'm sleepy. My sleep schedule is somewhat off since I ended up sleeping more with no Internet and restricted TV. Now I'm tired since I was in the next timezone, I guess. Oh well, I'll be back to what passes for normal in no time.
I think that at about 9:00 PM on the Friday before I left, I realized that I should probably try to call Erik and hang out with him more often. In theory, he's helping with teaching at the school right next to my apartment, so it wouldn't be hard to visit with him if he has an open schedule afterward… I suppose my desire to get to know some girls may have led me to distance myself from my male friends. I needed time to recover from being around guys all of the time in my CSci classes, I guess. Still, I'd want to spend time with some girls if the opportunity arose, but that's not going to happen if I never hang out with anybody…
I was guilted into going to church this morning in Rochester. It would have been nice to lounge around after driving all day yesterday, but no… I was worried that one of the pastors would mention Mel Gibson's movie, and one of them did. I was seconds away from getting up from my pew and leaving the sanctuary, but he managed to stop talking about it before that happened. It would have turned into a mess if I had left—my parents were on my left, and my brother and one of the church's pastors was on the right. Neither direction was a good option. Oh well, the guy didn't outright say, “you should go see this movie,” he just said something like “it sounds like this is an accurate portrayal of what [is believed to have] happened.” Still, I wish he'd actually see the movie before promoting it in any way.
But, I'm in Minneapolis now. Brought my brother up with me, since he'd visited home over the weekend. There was a little tension since we might have had to deal with bad weather, but things cleared up by the time we left (still wet on the road in some places, but not too bad).
Now I see that The Daily Show was all repeats this last week, so I didn't miss anything there. I'll have to go through the other shows my computer recorded and see if anything interesting showed up over the week (there appears to be a good Frontline episode).
Oh yeah—I'm glad Ralph Nader decided to run again. I wasn't sure if I wanted him there or not, but the Democratic nomination race is kicking out the candidates I like (er, the main candidate I liked, at least). By the way, the “Nader is a spoiler” argument doesn't carry any weight with me. In Florida in 2000, Gore and Bush were separated by 537 votes. The 10th-place finisher, James Harris of the Socialist Workers Party, had 558 votes, so that theoretically makes about eight people possibly responsible if you want to play the candidate blame game. In truth, the voting in Florida was just fubar in general (with tens of thousands of ballots considered “spoiled”), so you can't blame any of them.
Ah, The Daily Show. Where would we be without you?
Hello! And welcome to Moviefone
To select – The Passion of the Christ – press one
To select – Jesus Christ – as your personal savior – press two
If you are one of they who mock them yea verily, I say unto thee – press three
If you need instructions again in tongues – press four
Hulabalala! Nrabulalala! Nraah! Blualablah! Haaa!
Such sophistication ;-)
Like that title? Thank Jon Stewart, though I have no idea how The Daily Show can repeatedly use the word “douchebag” without getting in at least a little trouble. Makes me think of when they forgot to bleep “fuckers” a few weeks ago. I think that was on a Thursday—the next Monday, Stewart said something along the lines of, “We thought that [with all the Janet Jackson stuff] we'd get a call. But you know what? Nobody called!”
Always good to know the FCC is paying attention. Yeah, they basically give cable a free ride, in my opinion. On the other hand, I think the broadcast networks can get held back a bit too much from time to time. Well, except Fear Factor is on NBC. Sheesh, I don't know. I'm just generally displeased with television these days. Just give me PBS, TechTV, The History Channel, Comedy Central, and Cartoon Network, and I'll be happy. Okay, there are a few other shows I like. Say, Monk and Las Vegas.
Well, I just did my phone interview for that Medtronic position. I think it went well, though I imagine they'll have more qualified people anyway. I haven't used some of the software that they mentioned. But, those pieces are only moderately important, I think… Still, the position is only a month or so, though it's theoretically contract-to-hire (at least, that was the initial impression I was given).
Well, I have some errands to run today. I plan to finally buy an iron and ironing board, get a haircut, copy my cable bill so I can get that deduction when I pay rent, and maybe pay some other bills. Hmm. I should get one of those 12-pocket folders so I can save my pile of old bills somewhere.
Frontline had another good show, “Diet Wars”—the whole show will be available online on Saturday for anyone who's interested. Anyway, they just went through the basic stuff that any intelligent person who has read about diets should already know, but it's good to be reminded. I'm interested in heaing more about the theoretical Harvard diet. Wired magazine had a layout comparing the government's food pyramid to other diets out there a few issues back, but it doesn't appear to be on their website…
Anyway, the general conclusion was stuff that some people have known for quite a while—eat unsaturated fats rather than saturated ones, avoid refined carbohydrates in favor of less-refined ones. It's bouncing back from the Atkins craze in a way, dropping the saturated fats and bringing back certain types of carbs.
Oh, and another thing, it's often better to avoid things that say “Low Fat.” The Harvard talking head said that the pre-low fat salad dressings were better for you than the newer varieties. When foods went low-fat, much of the fat was replaced with starches and sugars, leaving the calorie count about the same, though potentially making you want to eat more often due to faster changes in blood glucose levels.
Okay, that's boring. We should exercise more, too… Yadda, yadda, yadda…
I got a call about an interview at MCAD that I'd inquired about a month ago… Sheesh. I'm still waiting to hear about stuff that happened last week, but something good had better turn up soon.
Hmm. Once I get off my butt and send back my broken hard drive, I think I'll set up my computer to record Best Week Ever on Fridays at 10 o'clock, since that's the one day of the work week that The Daily Show isn't on. The bits of Best Week Ever I've seen have been good, so I'll have to keep watching.
I guess this is from a half-page ad in New York or something:
Turns out I miscalculated on the hours I've been working. I had been doing 6 hours instead of 5. I knew my day didn't seem to be the right length somehow. Anyway, I guess I'll make up for it by just having a short day tomorrow.
Kerry won the debate. Anyone who says otherwise wasn't really paying attention. But, in the “marketplace of ideas” I suppose you can think whatever you want. I think it's likely that Kerry will “win” all of them, but I don't know if it'll change much of anything.
Upon the recent revelations that viewers of The Daily Show are more on top of things than just about anybody, there's anecdotal evidence that post-debate interviews with the spin-meisters are getting interrupted a bit more frequently with tough questions. I guess the test of that will come in the next few days. If The Moment from this debate turns out to be a silly little foible, the media hasn't yet started to change direction. But, if something substantive sticks, I think someone has started to pay attention to the fact that American news media is a pretty messed up group at the moment.
On that note, there's a great Fresh Air interview with Jon Stewart that was done today.
I've been working on a piece of wiki software for my own site. It uses Perl/CGI with SQLite for the database. The syntax is based off of what Wikipedia uses, since I use it all of the time and don't like having to remember different wiki styles :-p
The DB layout started off based on what Wikipedia uses, but I'm looking to make something that will have a weblog in it, along with comments and stuff, so it will diverge over time. I'll have to have some integrating SPAM-fighting capability, but it probably won't be anything fancy (it'll be fancier than what I have right now, however). I've got a very basic wiki running right now on my home machine. About 6kB of Perl code (not counting the libraries it's built on), so not too bad. It keeps old versions at the moment, but I don't have a history view yet or any way to do diffs (that'll be tricky). I'm not tracking links yet (and, well, I think I only have one page at the moment). I'm just working on the basics so far (what do you expect after only a few hours' work?).
I hope I'll be able to do security right.
The Daily Show folks have been all over lately. This is due to several factors colliding at once: Winning two more Emmys, having their audience get called “stoned slackers” by Bill O'Reilly, having their audience then be determined to be one of the smartest and most well-off groups of people around, and the release of America (The Book).
I saw them on (apparently a repeat of) Deborah Norville's show on MSNBC. I never watch her because I've always counted her among the media sources that TDS makes fun of all of the time. I dunno, maybe she was beginning to understand by the end of the show (which was still reasonably good despite her overexuberance). I kind of had the same reaction after catching a glimpse of one of the correspondents on Paula Zahn's show on CNN. Like two galaxies colliding or something strange.
Hmm. Bill O'Reilly is supposed to be on The Daily Show tonight. But, Bio-Dome is on 45. Decisions, decisions.
Wow. Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire ended up being much different than what anyone expected. That's got to be the only time I've ever seen someone come on a show (as the only guest!) and totally eviscerate it. A few links so far:
So it turns out that Jon Stewart stayed around at the Crossfire set for an extra 90 minutes debating the hosts and staff of the show about media ethics after his appearance on Friday. It doesn't seem to have rubbed off at all. Those guys have just been working in the same way for way too long, I guess.
I'm currently reading about the most corrupt mayor Minneapolis ever had, Albert Alonzo "Doc" Ames. If this isn't a plot for a movie, I don't know what is. He had served a few questionable terms as mayor toward the end of the 19th century, but when he took office in 1901, he became a total crook. He eventually resigned after a grand jury investigation, and everything was reported in 1903 by Lincoln Steffens, a famous muckracking journalist. His article was titled “The Shame of Minneapolis: The Rescue and Redemption of a City That Was Sold Out” and later appeared in a collection of his articles called The Shame of the Cities (“the Cities” being cities around the country, not just the Twin Cities).
Of course, if anyone ever wanted to make a movie, very little from that time remains in the city—at least downtown—other than the city hall. Even that has a green copper roof now and not a red terra cotta one.
And while I'm here I may as well quote Samantha Bee from last night's Daily Show:
All other days [in December] bow down to the 25th, Christmas. It's the only religious holiday which is also a federal holiday. That way, Christians can go to their services, and everyone else can stay home and reflect on the true meaning of the separation of church and state.
Okay, the study doesn't say that (and actually, I suspect that NewsHour wins that one), but it certainly seems to be true when you consider that The Daily Show often has 1/3 to 1/2 less time per half hour to do "reporting" because of the tail-end interview (though sometimes it's a political guest).
If you need me to draw the conclusion here, it's that the "real" news organizations have been doing a crappy job. But you already knew that.
In other news, the concept of Limbo is going away. Rather than endorse birth control, just rearrange the netherworld. Easy peasy.